An American organization, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, has just released a new budget simulator that lets you take the role of the United States Department of the Treasury and try to get the United States public debt below 60% of GDP by 2018 (hat tip: Andrew Sullivan).
I gave it a go and had to make hard choices, but managed to meet the goal, even though it wasn’t easy. I met the goal with a mixture of spending cuts and tax increases. Amongst other things, slashed defense spending and other miscellaneous programs (such as agricultural subsidies and space program). However, I was forced to raise taxes, allowing the Bush tax cuts (except the AMT patch) to expire, enact a carbon tax and VAT (with rebate), and gradually increased retirement ages. At the end, I even had some “budget room” left over.
As a bonus, how many people will manage do the Republican thing? That is, not increase taxes, and increase defense spending, while at the same time meeting the goal?
Also, this budget simulator is missing a few things that would result in further debt reductions. Ending the War on (Some Classes of People who Use Some) Drugs by decriminalizing all illegal drugs and treating addicts as having medical problems would save much law enforcement resources; all, not just half of, agricultural subsidies should be eliminated; and others.
Honestly, you can’t make this up. If you put this in the script for some sitcom it would be rejected for being too unrealistic (via).
In (yet another) Republican sex scandal, Representative Mark Souder will be resigning after admitting to an affair with a staff member. In what is certainly not a surprise, Souder was one of those big–time “family values” types.
The real problem here isn’t necessarily the fact that he was a “family values” type or was a Republican; there is no particular reason for Democrats to have fewer affairs, and if he wants to live the exemplary life he preaches no one is stopping him. No, the real problem is the hypocritical, holier–than–thouism of someone who didn’t practice what he preaches. If you make your political career on “family values”, you had better follow them yourself.
And who was this staffer Souder had his affair with? Her name is Tracy Jackson. She and Souder appeared in a video together, advocating (wait for it) abstinence–only sex education.
Conservatives sure are funny.
I think I’ll let this speak for itself (via):
Those law–and–order, property rights are sacred Republicans, used a school in Portland, Maine, to hold their caucuses. In one room, they took a poster, used a sticker to deface where it once stood, and opened a box and complained that it contain copies of the United States Constitution….
Nothing more to say, really.
In what I am sure will not be a surprise to anyone, American President Obama has nominated Elena to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court of the United States. I can’t say that I’m particularly thrilled with this news, as she is apparently big on executive power. I would have preferred Pam Karlan or Diane Wood.
When Kagan is (almost certainly) confirmed, it will mean that there will be three women– Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg– on SCOTUS simultaneously; the highest number of women (3 seats out of 9) ever.
I have no objections to any woman who wants to be a mother. Forced non–motherhood is as bad as forced motherhood. If you want to be a mother of five, feminists are perfectly fine with that.
What feminists don’t like is the Cult of Motherhood; the idea that being a mother is the only thing that women should be and that their lives should consist of nothing else. By elevating motherhood into an end–all be–all, anti–feminists negate the entire idea that a woman can choose for herself, and instead compel others to do something; they change the decision maker from the woman to someone else. As illustrated by the Cult of Motherhood, a choice with one option is not a real choice.